Republican News

Republican News

Sep 28 2006

Text of Domenici Remarks Today to the National Academies

Domenici credits academies for inspiring bipartisan competitiveness legislation introduced this week

This week, I joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing S. 3936, the National Competitiveness Investment Act (NCIA). This bill was introduced in the Senate by 36 Republicans and Democrats, including the two top leaders of the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist and Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as well as the top Republican and Democratic members of the three key Senate committees dealing with science and technology.
This bill is based on the recommendations of the National Academies' study, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." It  strengthens our nation’s ability to compete in the global high-tech marketplace.
It also responds to recommendations contained in a recent report from the Council on Competitiveness, as well as proposals made as part of the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative.  I look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation when we return to session later this fall.

It is hard to believe it’s been one year since the National Academy of Science released its report. That report warned us that we are not doing enough to harness and develop our national brainpower.
The Gathering Storm report was written by a distinguished committee chaired by Norm Augustine.  Mr. Augustine’s committee included three Nobel laureates, presidents of leading U.S. universities, and chief executive officers of multinational corporations.  After an intensive ten weeks of effort.  The Committee produced a list of twenty recommendations.
Through this new legislation, we are going to put the Augustine report’s recommendations into action.  In this bill, we are addressing nearly every one of the recommendations made by this significant, influential report.  The National Academy of Sciences told us what we need to do, and it is up to us on Capital Hill to do it. 
 I commend my colleagues for their hard work on this issue, including Senators Alexander, Hutchison, and Bingaman who are also attending today’s event. All of us that worked to write this legislation are deeply concerned about maintaining our nation’s ability to compete in the high-tech, global marketplace.
Our bill increases our investments in science and mathematics education at all levels – kindergarten through high school, college, and graduate school.  The NCIA will also build on educational programs at Department of Energy laboratories.  These programs will strengthen the teaching skills of math and science teachers throughout the country.
We will authorize a doubling of research dollars to key research agencies, including the Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 
We must not forget that authorizations are terrific, but we have to follow through and fund the programs.  That will be hard work, because funding these programs will mean making hard decisions and taking cuts to programs somewhere else.  But if we don’t start making the hard decisions today, we will be out of luck tomorrow. 
I say the time is now, for us to get going and fund the programs we need to keep our competitive edge. As chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee, I slightly exceeded the President’s request for a 14 percent increase for the Office of Science in fiscal year 2007, putting it on track to double in a decade.
We need to take U.S. competitiveness seriously.  We need to take action to support our standard of living, and ensure we continue to grow and prosper. If we do not, we can expect other nations to rival our global competitiveness – and one day to surpass us.